DEWSBURY put in an impressive team performance to dispose of Super League Castleford in both side’s final pre-season hit out, writes Joe Whiteley.
The Rams were impressive throughout, and were good value for their win at a wet, windy and cold Tetley’s Stadium.
Glenn Morrison’s side adapted better to the conditions, and recorded their second Super League scalp of pre-season, following a 38-4 defeat of a young Bradford a few weeks back.
Morrison, who was recently announced as one of the shortlisted candidates for the New Zealand national team head coach vacancy, was pleased with the progression his side has shown since their first pre-season game.
“I’m really happy with the boys and the way we’ve been going,” said Morrison, who will be interviewed via Skype for the Kiwis job this week.
“Obviously we’ve been working towards next week but we’ve had a couple of good sides up against us in Castleford and Bradford, and defensively it’s been really pleasing.
“We’ve worked on a lot since that first pre-season game against Batley, and we’ve been playing some good footy in bad conditions, so where we’re at at the minute is really good.
“We’ve got people in the team who want to go out there and tackle and be aggressive which is good. If you can take metres off teams in defence then you’ve got half the battle won.
“We’ve got some smart halves who are coming up with the right decisions at the right time, and are able to man-manage the game, so we’re in a good spot. But, we’re not getting over excited because the season starts next week. These pre-season games don’t mean much, but they’ve got us in a good spot.”
Castleford boss Daryl Powell picked a side with a distinct blend of youth and experience, and despite the defeat, he was proud of the effort of his side, especially the younger end of his squad.
“It was a tough game which is what we expected and what we wanted,” he said.
“Obviously the conditions were pretty tough, and we never really got a grip of the game in terms of control.
“We lost Nathan Massey after one minute which was incredibly disappointing for him, and we had a hell of a lot of young boys out there so that’s a real positive for us that some of the young lads have experienced real life rugby league against some big physical people.
“I expected a little bit more control in our game, but we couldn’t get going and when we did make breaks we couldn’t find that final pass.
“We needed to get more control and to kick the ball better, but apart from that I’m pretty happy to be honest.”
After a bright start, Dewsbury took the lead in the 11th minute. Great work from Stephen Nash saw the prop steal the ball off Jordan Tansey right on the Castleford line. And from the resulting play the ball, the impressive Joel Farrell wrestled his way over, despite the attention of a number of Tigers defenders.
In the swirling wind, Tom Hemingway landed the conversion to give the Rams a 6-0 lead.
The home side continued to play attractive and expansive rugby, and they nearly scored a wonderful off-the-cuff try in the 23rd minute.
Full-back Louis Sheriff opted to chip over the top straight from a tap on their 20 metre line, and a supporting Ram knocked the ball further ahead, before Hemingway’s final kick went just too far for the stand-off to chase and ground his own kick.
But, just after the half-hour mark, Dewsbury did get over for their second score of the game; as on the last tackle, the hosts opted for a power play, with Ryan Wright throwing a short, bullet pass to Tommy Gallagher, who spun his way over the line. Hemingway converted from bang in front to give Dewsbury a thoroughly deserved 12-0 half-time lead.
Castleford didn’t seem to improve much in the second period, and very rarely did they threaten the Rams line with any purpose.
In the 54th minute a grubber kick from Brett Seymour forced a drop-out, but the resulting kick hung in the air and Farrell was able to get there first and win the ball back for the Rams.
Castleford continued to be the architects of their own downfall, with Jamie Ellis kicking out on the full, followed by a number of handling errors and forward passes.
In the 57th minute, a grubber kick from Anthony Thackeray was just too long for the chasing Gregg Scott, and four minutes later, Keiran Hyde lost the ball after making a good break for Dewsbury.
But, with ten minutes left to play, Dewsbury made sure of the win, with scrum-half Thackeray again instrumental in the build-up.
He found a way through the Castleford defence, before drawing Ben Reynolds and passing inside to second-row Scott Hale to race over under the sticks. With Hemingway off the pitch, it was down to new signing Jordan Grayston to knock over the simple conversion and make it 18-0.
Castleford forced another drop-out with four minutes to play, but they lost the ball on just the second tackle, summing up a miserable night for the Super League side.